Skip to main content

Excerpt - Michal by Jill Eileen Smith

Captain's Log, Stardate 03.19.2009


Michal
by
Jill Eileen Smith


Can their epic search for true love survive a father's fury?

The daughter of King Saul, Michal lives a life of privilege--but one that is haunted by her father's unpredictable moods and competition from her beautiful older sister.

As a girl, Michal quickly falls for the handsome young harpist David. But soon after their romance begins, David must flee for his life, leaving Michal at her father's mercy in the prison that is King Saul's palace.

Will Michal ever be reunited with David? Or is she doomed to remain separated from him forever?

Against the backdrop of opulent palace life, raging war, and daring desert escapes, Jill Eileen Smith takes you on an emotional journey as Michal deals with love, loss, and personal transformation as the first wife of King David. Jill Eileen Smith has more than twenty years of writing experience, and her writing has gathered acclaim in several contests. Her research into the lives of David's wives has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

Buy from Christianbook.com

Excerpt of chapter one:



Michal



Revell (March 1, 2009)



by





Chapter 1


Gibeah, 1023 BC

Michal ducked as a shard of pottery soared past her head.
She took a step backward into the shadowed hall, gripping
the stone wall for support.

“No! Please! Not my alabaster vase!”

Michal stiffened at her mother’s shrill voice. She crept
forward and looked around the heavy wooden door into the
battlefield of her mother’s spacious bedchamber.

Her father, the king of Israel, held the priceless Egyptian
treasure above his head, his gaze taunting.

“Please, Saul!” Her mother rushed at him, her sheer robe
drooping from one shoulder. She gripped the vase, trying to
wrestle it from his grasp.

Michal’s breath caught. Had her mother lost her mind?
She had to create a diversion. Get her father out of this
room. Or pull her mother away before she died trying to
protect that silly pottery collection.

“Give—me—my—vase!”

Her father’s eerie laughter followed. Fabric ripped as he
yanked her mother forward by her tunic. She gripped the vase hard. Snatched it from his grasp. A guttural sound came
from his throat. He heaved her across the blue tile, and the
vase shattered beneath her.

Her mother’s screams faded.

Silence settled over the room.

Michal cowered, fingernails digging at the mortar between
the stones.

Her father sank to his knees, face cupped between both
hands. Soft weeping came from the corner where her mother
lay. A moment passed.

Darting a quick look at her father, Michal hurried to her
mother’s side. “Are you all right, Mother?” She noted a jagged
cut on her mother’s arm. “You’re bleeding.”

“My vase . . .”

Was that all she could think about? “We’ll get a new vase,
Mother.” Never mind that the urn had been in her mother’s
family since the exodus, dating back several centuries.

“Guards!” Michal called out, hoping one of the cowards
was within hearing distance.

Her father’s piercing wail startled her, followed by deep,
throaty groans as he pushed his purple-draped body up from
the floor. Dark, smoldering rage burned in the abyss of his
gray eyes.

Michal tugged on her mother’s arm, bending to whisper
in her ear. “Come, Mother. Let’s go!”

Her mother clutched a pottery shard to her chest. “I cannot.”

Michal gritted her teeth, wishing she could fly away like
a bird. To somewhere far from Gibeah and her father’s unpredictable
wrath.

“I’ll get Jonathan,” she said. Her brother was the only person who could control the king when he got like this. More importantly,
her brother could issue the command to send for
the singer.

David. The thought of him fluttered her stomach.

“Come here, Daughter.”

She stared at her father in silence, his glare pinning her
feet to the floor.

“I won’t hurt you.”

She’d heard the words before, their promise disappearing
like water through shifting sand. Michal held her tongue,
surprised at how calm she felt. After six months of putting
up with her father’s changing moods, maybe she was finally
figuring out how to manage him. Though staying out of his
way seemed like the wisest option.

She took one step, then whirled about and dashed to the
door. On the third step, she felt her father’s grip on her forearm.
“Let me go!”

He yanked her to his chest. “Do you think you can outrun
a warrior, Daughter?” His fingers dug into her flesh.

“You said you wouldn’t hurt me!” With tears in her eyes,
she writhed to get free. “Why, Father? Why do you do this?”
She winced at the bruise he was giving her, hating him.

Her mother’s weeping grew to loud wails.

Michal felt her father’s fingers slowly release her arm.

“I shouldn’t have . . .” With a wounded look on his face, he
glanced about the room. One hand lifted to his temple as he
sank to the floor again. Moaning, he dug both hands into his
shoulder-length hair.

Michal resisted the urge to kick him and beat him with
her fists. Instead, she drew in a calming breath and rested a
hand on top of her father’s head, brushing the golden crown. “Don’t worry, Father. The harpist will come soon, and you
will be well.”

When he didn’t respond, she slipped from the room, disgust
and despair mingling in her heart.

••

Michal rushed along the cobbled stones, then stopped
abruptly in front of a guard. “Joash, get Marta to help my
mother. She’s hurt.” The guard hurried away, and Michal
ran to the courtyard, where Jonathan sat with her brothers
Abinadab and Malchishua, rubbing oil into their leather
breastplates. “You must come at once, Jonathan.” She bent
forward, dragging in a breath of air. “The demons are after
Father again.”

Jonathan dropped the oilcloth and shield onto the stone
bench and stood. “Tell me quickly, what has he done?”

Michal blurted out the scene in her mother’s chambers,
her words tumbling on top of one another. Her brother’s left
brow hiked up a notch, and his dark brown beard moved with
the clenched muscle in his jaw.

“He’s getting worse,” she said, falling into step at Jonathan’s
side. His long legs carried him faster than she could keep up.
“What are we going to do?” She hated the whiny quality her
voice took on when she panicked, but she was grateful that
Jonathan never seemed to notice.

“Send for the singer,” Abinadab said, coming up behind
them. “At least the house has some peace from the madness
when he plucks those strings of his.”

“I sent for him yesterday.” Jonathan stopped at the entrance
to their father’s harem. “How badly was she hurt?” he asked
Michal.

“She had a cut on her arm, maybe a few bruises. I sent
for Marta.”

“With that temper of his, it’s a wonder he didn’t kill her.”
Abinadab scowled.

“Keep your tone respectful, Brother. He’s still our father
and king.”

“He doesn’t act like a king.” Michal tensed, wishing she
could retract the words.

“Maybe not, but we must still keep in mind that he is the
Lord’s anointed.”

Michal sighed, feeling far older than her fifteen years. A
guard emerged from her mother’s chambers, the king leaning
on his arm. They stepped to the side, allowing the king to
pass. His eyes held a dazed expression, as though he looked
through them instead of at them.

“He’s not a good king,” Michal whispered, when their father
had turned down the hall leading to his own chambers.

Jonathan’s hand on her arm made her look up at him again.
“We have to trust the Lord in this, Michal.”

He walked on toward their mother’s room. His earnest
expression brought a sliver of hope into her heart, but in the
same moment the old doubts rose to haunt her.

“Then why has the Lord forsaken our father?” she asked, hurrying
to keep up. The question had burned within her since the
day their father had returned from a battle with the Amalekites,
shaken to the core. He’d never spoken of it, and she was desperate
to understand. “Please, Jonathan, do you know why the
Most High seems to torment Father rather than help him?”

Jonathan crossed the threshold to their mother’s chambers,
where Michal could see the woman resting on her couch,
Marta at her side.

“The singer will ease Father’s worries,” he said. “Don’t trouble
yourself with the rest.” He touched her arm. “I’ll handle
things here.”

Michal nodded, relieved to be free of the whole ordeal.
Grabbing up her skirts, she raced to the outside of the palace
kitchens where stone steps led to the lookout area on the flat
roof. David. If Jonathan had already sent for him, he could
be coming up the hill from Bethlehem. She might be able to
spot him from the rooftop.

She rounded a corner closest to the clay ovens, where scents
of garlic and leeks mingled with the yeasty smells of baking
bread. One sniff made her stomach growl, but she pressed a
hand to her waist and grasped the rail. She raised her foot to
climb the first step when the echoing sounds of her father’s
screams sent her hopes plummeting.

Her sister, Merab, came up behind her, dark hair flowing beneath
a blue veil, arms crossed in her arrogant older sister pose.
Sometimes Michal saw glimpses of her father in her sister’s
cold eyes and tight smile. She shuddered at the thought.

“There you are. Mother needs you,” Merab said.

Michal let out a sigh. “Jonathan is with her. She doesn’t
need me.” She had to get away from her mother’s demands.

Merab lifted her chin. “Of course she does. It’s always you
she wants.” She shifted from one foot to the other. “You best
hurry—you know how she gets.”

Yes. She knew only too well.

A feeling of rebellion made her pause. Of late her mother
had grown almost as unreasonable as her father, even going
so far as to bring teraphim into the palace. The household
gods made her shiver every time she looked at them.

Michal glanced up at the roof, then back at her sister. “I’ll be there soon.” Before Merab could protest, Michal scurried
up the stone steps to the lookout place between the dual
towers.

A brisk breeze whipped her head cloth behind her while
she gripped the stone parapet. She bent forward, straining
to see against the glare of the fading sun.

David.

She swayed to the music of his name echoing in her heart.
Leaning her weary limbs against the stone tower, she released
an unsteady breath. Below her, ricocheting against the granite
walls of the palace, the sounds of her father’s raving madness
carried through the open windows.

Any moment now the harpist, straddling his father’s gray
donkey, would trot through the imposing gates of Gibeah,
straight to her father’s side.

Oh, please hurry!

The incessant pounding of her heart increased at the sound
of a sudden, earsplitting scream. She clamped her hands over
her ears and rocked back on her heels.

Why, God? Why does my father act this way?

Michal bit back a sob and stretched farther over the rail’s
edge, begging her eyes to find the object of her desire, of
her desperation. Truth be told, she needed the magic of the
singer’s music almost as much as her father did. Maybe then
her fears would subside, her anxious thoughts cease.

She rushed to the other end of the roof. Her fingers trembling,
she flipped her braided hair behind her back and peered
around the towers toward the hills. For a moment the beauty
of the sunset calmed her tattered nerves.

Please come. Don’t make us wait another day.
Her father’s guttural wail coming from below reduced her fragile peace to ashes. She raised her fists in the air and
screamed.

••

Cushioned couches lined the south wall of the king’s court
where Michal reclined beside her mother and sister, her gaze
fixed on the singer. Though it was long after dark, David had
finally come. His sweet music wooed her, and the strings
of his harp mimicked the melodic trill of a nightingale. She
closed her eyes, picturing the cascading blue-green waters
of En Gedi.

Tension slipped from her shoulders, and her restless fears
vanished. David. Had she spoken his name aloud? But David’s
gaze was focused on her father. King Saul was no longer the
crazed madman of a few hours ago. His eyes were clear, and
his lips curved in a smile.

Michal’s heart stirred with something akin to compassion.
She could almost love the king when he was like this.

The music drifted into stillness. David’s head lifted, and he
glanced in her direction. Michal’s breath caught when their
eyes connected. His casual, dimpled smile nearly made her
heart stop. Could he read her thoughts? Could he tell how her
heart yearned for him? His gaze moved past her and lingered
on her sister. Michal shifted in her seat, catching the blush
on Merab’s cheeks.

In a suspended moment, Michal glanced from Merab to
David, who had turned away to face Jonathan and the king. But
not soon enough to hide the look that had passed between them.
A look that told her more than words could begin to say.

David—the man who had captured her heart—was in love
with her sister.

Popular Posts

Merry Christmas! Enjoy The Spinster's Christmas

As a Merry Christmas gift to all my blog readers, I’m going to be posting my Christian Regency romantic suspense, The Spinster’s Christmas , for free on my blog! I’ll be posting the book in 1000-1500 word segments every Tuesday and Friday. (When I do the calculations, it’ll finish around the end of May.) Why am I posting a Christmas story when it won’t be Christmas in a week? Because I can! :) The Spinster’s Christmas is the prequel volume to my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series . Right now I’m editing volume 1 of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, and it’s on track to release in 2020. (If you’re on my Camille Elliot newsletter , you’ll be sure to hear when it’s available for preorder.) I anticipate that the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series to be about ten volumes. I think the series story will be a lot of fun to tell, and I’m looking forward to writing up a storm! Below, I’ll be listing the links to the parts of The Spinster’s Christmas as I post them. (I created the html links by hand so please l

Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 4: Betrayer is here!

The latest volume in my Christian Regency epic serial novel is released! Here’s the back cover description of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer : A Christian Historical Adventure set in Regency England with romance and a supernatural twist Part four in an epic-length serial novel Beleaguered spies Lady Wynwood’s team of spies are trying to heal from the physical and mental wounds recently dealt to them. However, their investigation into Apothecary Jack’s mysterious group has turned up only a few strange, disjointed clues, and the dangerous Root elixir continues to circulate in the London underbelly. It is only a matter of time before the Root is sold to Napoleon, which would give him overwhelming dominance in the war. Sudden threats Then Laura, Lady Wynwood, is unexpectedly attacked by a man she had trusted. Although Phoebe and her household staff manage to protect her, her life is now in danger and she must go into hiding. Dangerous mysteries Laura uncovers more

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

How can I pray for you?

Photo credit: lalalime.blogspot.com 日本語訳は下をご覧ください。 I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, taking time to be still and remember God’s grace. My IBS has gotten a little better, but I’m still not entirely in control of my symptoms. There are simply too many things I don’t know if I can eat or not, and when I try things, if they affect my IBS, then I’m out for about a week at a time. My writing has slowed down more than I’d like. Please pray for God to heal my IBS, and for me to learn what God wants me to learn by allowing these struggles. Just as I’m struggling, if you are too, remember that God is with us and has a reason for everything that happens to us. Lord, thank You that You are always with us and have control over everything that happens to us. Help us to surrender to You and do Your will, no matter what is going on in our lives. Amen How can I pray for you today? Please leave me your prayer requests! Prayer requests can sometimes be private things, so to keep your

ひとり寿司第25章パート2

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** ビーナスはベンの視界をさえぎった。「ここは大丈夫だから、もう帰っていいわよ」 「でも——」 ビーナスは、また彼の目の前でドアを閉めた。 「何——」 ビーナスはレックスの言葉をさえぎり、ドアの隣の窓から外をのぞいた。「よかったわ、レックス、エイデンが来てくれて。あなたの巻き爪を全部切ってくれるわよ」ビーナスの声が小さい部屋に響き渡った。 どうやって礼儀正しく答えようかと決めかねているように、エイデンの表情は少し硬くなった。多分、(そうなの?)とか(それはおもしろいね)とでも言う

Camy Tang's November newsletter

My Camy Tang (Christian Contemporary Romantic Suspense) newsletter went out this week, but in case you missed it, the link is below. In my newsletter this month, there’s an update on my personal life and publishing schedule, and I also linked to a blog post about what the TV show Supernatural has to do with GONE MISSING, the 6th book in my Sonoma series Click here to read my Camy Tang newsletter for November. I also forgot to post the link for the October newsletter, so you can click here to read it.

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

One-Skein Pyrenees Scarf knitting pattern

I got into using antique patterns when I was making the scarf my hero wears in my Regency romance, The Spinster’s Christmas . I wanted to do another pattern which I think was in use in the Regency period, the Pyrenees Knit Scarf on pages 36-38 of The Lady's Assistant for Executing Useful and Fancy Designs in Knitting, Netting, and Crochet Work, volume 1, by Jane Gaugain, published in 1840. She is thought to be the first person to use knitting abbreviations, at least in a published book, although they are not the same abbreviations used today (our modern abbreviations were standardized by Weldon’s Practical Needlework in 1906). Since the book is out of copyright, you can download a free PDF copy of the book at Archive.org. I found this to be a fascinating look at knitting around the time of Jane Austen’s later years. Although the book was published in 1840, many of the patterns were in use and passed down by word of mouth many years before that, so it’s possible these are p

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 7

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Marisol Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Aunt Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri